This sure ain’t Grandma’s car.
If you think that Cadillac is a brand for old farts, you’re already 10 years late. Cadillac ceded that business to Lexus years ago and has been huntin’ BMWs ever since. And with the new ATS-V, the fastest-ass version of its compact ATS sedan and coupe line, Cadillac has taken aim on some of Bimmer’s most iconic cars in its history, the M3 sedan and M4 coupe.
In many ways, the Caddy kicks ass. Not only does it feel lighter but it’s more powerful and has the most visceral dynamics in its class. If you want to steer with one finger, this is not the car for you. If you like to feel what you’re driving over, and like to grip the wheel like your last name is Andretti, this is. One of my fave features is a six-speed manual transmission with no-lift shifting and rev-matched downshifts. Seriously incredible technology that makes this car a blast.
It also gives it to you from a design standpoint. The exterior proportions are perfection, and the lights and scoops and spoilers make for a visual extravaganza. There is no blending in with this one, especially if you’ve ordered the suite of carbon fiber extras that add gleaming, book-faced carbon fiber addenda all around the car.
I only wish the ATS-V’s interior had a bit more design harmony and a lot less piano black stuff that not only looks cheap, but collects fingerprints so quickly you’ll look down at your hands and count, because there’s no way only five fingers can make such a mess so quickly. That said, the racing Recaro seats are as sexy as they are supportive, and the mix of other materials, including nappy Alcantara and creamy-smooth leather, should be universally appealing, whether you’re into bears or twinks.
At $61,460 to start and well into the $70Ks well equipped, the ATS-V is not cheap. Then again, Cadillacs have commanded high prices since long before tailfins were ever a thing. For what it’s worth, its competitors are generally even more expensive, and more common, too. So, if you’re a go-fast kind of person who wants something as distinct as it is satisfying—and is American-made to boot—you may have met your match.
2016 Cadillac ATS-V
Base Price: from $61,460
Power: turbocharged 3.6-liter V-6 (464 hp, 445 lb-ft of torque)
Transmission: 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic
Fuel Economy, city/hwy mpg (EPA est): 16–17/23–24
Or you could buy:
Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG